I have a lifelong love of Chicago children’s television, dating back to the day my mom took all six of us kids to Bozo’s Circus. If you’ve grown up here, you know what a big deal it was to score tickets to the show-we waited six years for ours. And, the icing on the cake was my sister being selected to play the Grand Prize Game. (We’ve still never let her live down that she only nailed the first three buckets.)
So I was excited to visit Chicago’s new Museum of Broadcast Communications last week. The recently opened museum features a section on Chicago’s iconic shows, including Garfield Goose, Bozo and Ray Rayner. Unfortunately, the museum didn’t live up to its hype.
The majority of the museum consisted of televisions mounted to walls playing old TV shows, with some chairs placed in front for watching. I enjoyed the small section that featured Bozo and friends but my kids weren’t interested in reliving my past for very long and quickly bored of the museum, which had little to offer for children and teens.
The one area we did enjoy was the news broadcast studio, where my 16-year-old daughter, with some help from the two young men who were working the studio, did a 10-minute news broadcast. But the teleprompter moved quickly and she sometimes had trouble keeping up, so it’s definitely not something younger children could do.
At this point, I’d say the museum isn’t ready for prime time. Save the $12 entrance fee and, if you want to want nostalgic TV, flip on MeTV at home.